Time of Reckoning

Andy Smith discovers there's even more to kill and maim with these Quake add-ons...

Yes indeedy, winding up this issue's selection of Quake additions is Weird Science's collection of bolt-ons. IT may be the last one of the month but you can bet your bottom dollar we'll be seeing a lot more of these over the rest of the year.

Time of Reckoning contains additions for three games - the rather lovely Duke Nukem 3D (which isn't actually available on the Amiga, so that part of the CD is completely wasted, really), the gloriousDoom II and the seminal Quake.

Let's have a look at the Doom II stuff first. There's a total of 500 WAD files on the CD, 250 new Deathmatch levels which, again, are going to be wasted on most players and 250 new single player levels.

There are also a whole bunch of new monsters and new weapons included, all of which should extend the life of your original game (which is needed) by several months. God stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Then there's the Quake stuff. Unlike Malice, which is more of a new game using the Quake engine, the bits and pieces on TOR simply add to the Quake experience without actually changing the flavour of playing the game.

That's not to say there isn't a whole load of stuff to play with as there are some 260 Deathmatch levels but, more importantly, there are 84 new single player levels to explore with 88 new weapons to try out. Some of these are modifications of the existing weapons - you want the Super Nailgun to be more devastating but have a slower firing rate? You got it. Other weapons are completely made up.

So why should you be paying for all this stuff? After all, there's loads of WADs and weapons freely available over the Net, isn't there?
Well, yes, but Weird Science have taken all the leg work out of getting hold of the good ones and they've made it easier for you to use them by including a floppy disk which helps with all the installation and set-up.

Getting new weapons and levels to load in is very easy (once you've told the program where to find your installed game), so good on 'em.

Does this make TOR an essential purchase then? Not really. It's good, but for my money you're better off spending the £15 on Malice first and then the £20 on TOR, and then it's only good value for money if you've got a copy of both games.

Anyone who doesn't have Internet access will find it a valuable source of extras, though, but don't be surprised if new CDs start appearing that offer even better value for money.

Time of ReckoningCU Amiga Super Star

Price: £9.99   Available from: Weird Science   +44(0)116 246 3800   http://www.sadeness.demon.co.uk

The ultimate add on CD? Time of Reckoning contains literally hundreds of add-ons for Quake and Doom, all with a nice easy front end.

Time of Reckoning is the result of two things. Weird Science's expansion into the PC market and the severe case of Quake addiction suffered by Weird Science's Dave Law. Originally designed for PC users to expand Quake, Doom and Duke Nuke 'em. When Doom arrived on the Amiga and the news broke that Quake was on the way, Weird Science were quick to work on an Amiga front end so that their loyal Amiga customers could join in the delights.

Time of Reckoning is fairly awesome in proportion; if you've enjoyed the extra Doom and Quake levels we occasionally put on our CUCDs, be prepared for something with just a little more depth.

A chunk of the CD may be wasted on Amiga owners without any sign of an Amiga port of Duke, but the Doom and Quake sides account for more depth than you are ever likely to need. For Quake there are about 350 custom levels, 100 extra weapons, a dozen or so bots and about 25 game modifying total conversion patches, 'bots (computer controlled players that can be anything from fake gamers to loyal killer guard dogs or dangerous Borgs assimilating all who cross their path and so forth. Doom users get around 500 new levels do play with.

Option mania
The Time of Reckoning Front End comes on an additional floppy. Once installed, it opens a fairly straightforward GUI window on your Workbench, from which you can access the various options. The first thing to do is to tell it where you keep your Quake and Doom - Time of Reckoning is not just a collection, it actually launches the game for you, so it needs to know these things.

It provides you with a large list of add-ons to choose from, installs them for you, generates the correct codes to launch them and can even delete your hard drive after use.

For Quake you get to use the Time of Reckoning front end to set up a lot of the things that are normally stored in your Quake config file, such as player name and uniform colour for multi-user games, cross hair on/off, CD audio etcetera. You can then proceed to set up your game by choosing any of the internal levels to start from, or any of the add-on levels..

You can import weapons or bots, or run one of the total conversions. The Quake Networks option allows you to select what type of server connection you want and whether you want single player, death match, co-operative, or teamplay competition play, and allows you to set maximum number of players, frag limits, and time. You can even access internet based Quake servers from it.

Doom players have it easier and even more controlled, with a simple page to select screenmode, wad (level file) directory or specific level file, dehacked file (if it works...), and select sound functions, MMU hack, music, map, and so on. A second page allows easy configuration of network play with full serial and IPX network options.

There is a good reason why the Doom side is a little better configured than the Quake side - the front End is written assuming ADoom, which is about the best and most popular of the Amiga Dooms, and therefore can access all the command line functions accurately and directly, while the Quake side was actually written before the Amiga version of Quake was available, based on a list of the commands rather than access to the full game.

Ideally, I'd like to have seen a few more of the command line functions supported for Quake to take into account some of the idiosyncracies of AmigaQuake - we did find a couple of set-ups that AmigaQuake did not like, and the lack of a safe mode option is a pain if you have a few too many hacks in your system.

An excellent touch which makes up for it on the Quake side is that every level, there is a small screenshot which can be displayed ina viewer window at the touchy of a button, the full docs are similarly easily available. For some reason this does not happen on the Doom side, although why the omission I cannot guess as the data is in fact there on the CD and works on the PC front end.

If you like the idea of choosing your levels by browsing through the pictures, you can always fire up an image viewer and get to it that way, though.

Time of Reckoning is a whole lot more than just a collection of levels. You no longer have to worry about typing things into shell to get your Quake add ons to work, and it makes all the set-up functions and networking a doddle. It is excellent for the player who wants to play network games, but possibly even more so for the single player who can now set up capture the flag games or deathmatch competitions against a few bots with ease. At the new price of £9.99 it is a bargain that any Quake/Doom fan ought to have in their collection.